Mark Bunker has been speaking out against Scientology fraud and abuse for over 20 years. During his first term, Mark used his position on the Downtown Development Board to address Scientology's efforts to sabotage the downtown by secretly purchasing the majority of properties there and leaving them sitting empty.
Mark's willingness to speak openly and freely about Scientology's actions in the city may ruffle feathers but everyone who campaigns for office in Clearwater knows that is on most voter's minds. "What are you going to do about Scientology?" is the question most often asked of a candidate. Unless we are unafraid to confront the fraud and abuse headquartered just a few blocks from City Hall, nothing will ever change.
Councilmember Bunker brings a touch of humanity to the council, giving greater attention to people over developers. We spend a lot of money helping developers with big projects. Some of that money should be invested into fixing neighborhoods. How many houses could be painted, porches fixed, roofs repaired? We need to support those efforts. Our new neighborhood coordinator and neighborhood liaisons are moving us away from just dealing with "the beach and downtown."
After seven long years of the people living on a dangerous stretch of Drew Street begging for the city to help, this council finally approved some much needed changes that should have been made a long time ago. The establishment is not happy that a shift on the council has tilted decisions toward citizens over profit. You can see Councilmember Bunker's comments on that vote in this video.
The first request Councilmember Bunker made of the city manager was to change the code so people could add ADUs (Accessible Dwelling Units) such as tiny homes, granny flats and garage apartments. They are not a solution for everyone but they will help many people find housing and give property owners a new source of income. Councilmember Bunker is pleased that this council passed those changes and he has been working toward establishing a tiny home neighborhood. With approved affordable and workforce housing underway and more on the horizon, we’re tackling this problem.
The proposal of the North Greenwood CRA was brought to the city by members of the Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition with a desire to concentrate on job training, education, healthcare and other programs to help individuals while fixing blight, improving conditions and creating a thriving business district. A mall created with shipping containers such as this one in Wesley Chapel would allow someone to start a business quite inexpensively. This could be transformational.